Two Top Producing Brokers Rejoin Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty

Portland broker Alicia Selliken and SW Washington broker Marci Caputo have rejoined Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty. The firm has attracted an additional 55 brokers so far this year.

Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty is a full-service brokerage that offers a high level of marketing and sales support. This model is ideal for brokers who wish to focus on serving their clients rather than spending time on administrative and marketing tasks. It is for brokers who seek more balance in their work and life.

Alicia Selliken, based out of the NE Portland office, is proud to be part of a brokerage that has a growth mindset and values community. “CSIR is hitting their stride with the expansion of their incredible agent services and marketing team. Their renewed efforts to create a stronger community both inside CSIR and beyond is refreshing.”

A woman-owned firm, Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty has seen continued growth over the years. Backed by a highly experienced and agile local leadership team, the firm provides unmatched broker support fueled by powerful marketing initiatives.

Portland’s Regional Marketing Director, Amanda Knutsen, describes the firm’s collaborative culture. “Our brokers appreciate the power of a global brand, paired with a local family feel. We help each other succeed and thoughtfully give back to the communities in which we work and live.”

Brokers at Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty are part of a global referral network that generated over $2.9B in 2020. In September of 2021, The Portland Business Journal ranked Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty the fastest-growing real estate company and the third fastest-growing company across all sectors in Portland.

Marci Caputo, based out of the Vancouver, WA office is happy to be back. “I have owned my own brokerage in the past which helps me truly understand the great value in all that Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty offers for support, marketing, global networking, community engagement and so much more.”

Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty has 400 brokers and 17 offices serving Oregon and SW Washington. In addition to being ranked the fastest-growing real estate firm in Portland, the firm has achieved top market share in Central Oregon. The firm is also expanding in Southern Oregon, with the grand opening of its Ashland office scheduled for November 5th, 2021.


Inventory Insanity: The Secret Economic Forces Fueling the Housing Shortage

17930 Kelok Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Presented by Laura Piccard | Offered at $2,750,000 | MLS# 21518152

From Inman

Many consumers may not realize it, but they’re increasingly competing against institutional investors and contending with soaring building costs.

Agents are exhausted and consumers are stretched thin. But despite everyone being fed up, the ongoing housing supply shortage drags on with no end in sight.

As Inman has previously reported, the problem is multifaceted. The coronavirus pandemic, for example, has reshuffled job markets. And at the same time, a years-long building shortfall and wave of millennials hitting homebuying age has further exacerbated the problem.

But those aren’t the only issues. In fact, there are multiple other forces that have, perhaps inadvertently, conspired to make housing both more scarce and more expensive — but which are also largely off the radar of most consumers. Despite their lower profile, though, these forces are having a tremendous impact on the housing market right now.

For our purposes here, we’ll focus on two such forces: the soaring cost of building materials, and the spiking interest in housing among investors. Together, these two things are major contributors to today’s housing market, and the lack of inventory that is sweeping so many markets.

Building supplies are getting way more expensive

The cost of building supplies has been ticking upward for a long time now, but according to David Logan — a senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) — the pandemic made the problem worse. That’s because the companies that make things like lumber bet that there would be a “precipitous drop in housing demand” during the pandemic, and that bet proved to be wrong.

“Producers of lumber, they shut down like most every other business needed to,” Logan told Inman. “But when production came back, mills had curtailed their production by as much as 50 percent.”

Logan called this a “fatal mistake” on the part of lumber companies, in part because demand for housing itself has surged and in part because on top of that DIY home remodeling has also become more popular during the pandemic.

The result is a kind of triple whammy where supply is low, while demand from both contractors and everyday consumers is higher than ever. It’s no surprise then that, according to Logan, the cost of lumber has tripled since a year ago.

“I would say it’s certainly unprecedented in so far as a surge of demand unexpectedly coincides with a large decline in supply,” Logan added.

Just by February, the NAHB estimated that this trend had added more than $24,000 to the cost of a newly built single-family home.

Data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics further bears this out, showing that the prices for plywood, lumber, veneer, pallets and various other items have jumped up recently.

Lumber may be the most prominent material impacted by this trend, but Logan also said it is “by no means the only culprit in this increase of the cost to built a home.” Other materials that have seen price increases include concrete, the oriented strand board (OSB) that is used in home wall paneling, and many other products.

Another NAHB report further notes that the price of steel mill products has jumped 22 percent in just the last three months.

The consequences of these price increases are far-reaching. In a series of reports, NAHB has revealed that contractors this spring are now having difficult conversations with their clients about the cost of materials, and that those costs are delaying critical home repairs. The costs are also cutting into the supply of affordable homes, especially in lower-cost suburbs where wood-frame building is the most common construction method.

Logan doesn’t expect these conditions to last forever, but in the meantime he said the prevailing sentiment among builders is one of “concern.”

Institutional investors are flocking to the housing industry

At the same time that building homes is getting more expensive, deep-pocketed investors are also snapping up more and more housing. Rick Palacios Jr., director of research for John Burns Real Estate Consulting, told Inman that right now investors are buying 20 percent of all homes in the U.S. Asked if that was enough to sway prices and housing supply, Palacios answered without hesitation: “yes.”

“That percentage gets even higher in a lot of markets,” he added. “Almost a quarter of all housing transactions are going to investors.”

Palacios pointed to Phoenix as an example, saying that nearly 30 percent of sales in the Arizona city are to investors. Las Vegas, Houston, and Tampa, Florida, also all have higher-than-average numbers of sales going to investors. Many of these markets also happen to be iBuying hotspots, and Palacios said firms such as Opendoor can end up having a major impact on the supply landscape in cities where they are active.

Of course, “investors” is a broad category. Palacios explained that it includes everyone from fix-and-flip operators to iBuyers to rental companies. But the result of all this interest among investors is that would-be homeowners are facing more competition and higher prices.

A report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting — which was provided to Inman — further teases this idea out, showing that investors have zeroed in on lower-cost homes. The report also notes that “cash purchases account for 67 percent of homes sold below $100k and 31 percent of homes sold between $100k and $200k.”

Some of this investor activity makes obvious sense. Given that there is a supply shortfall, as well as soaring prices, flippers stand to make a significant profit by simply buying houses and then selling them a short time later. Palacios said places like Phoenix and Boise, Idaho, are ideal backdrops for that kind of activity.

Interest from landlords, on the other hand, may be slightly less understandable given that right now they have to pay top dollar for their properties. That contrasts significantly from the housing bubble in 2008, when institutional investors were able to snap up thousands of houses at a relative bargain.

However, Palacios said that “there’s a global quest for yield” going on among investors right now. At the same time, yields from vehicles like U.S. Treasuries have tanked while investment in commercial real estate became unappealing thanks to COVID-related shutdowns of stores, restaurants and hospitality businesses.

Residential real estate, and especially single-family housing, looks relatively safe by comparison. And Palacios said recent years have ultimately offered a kind of proof-of-concept that shows this type of investment works. As a result, institutions like pension and sovereign wealth funds — which may have mandates to invest in U.S. real estate — have increasingly gravitated toward housing. And if they have to pay top dollar for the properties, so be it because they’re in it for the long haul.

“Today’s investors are investing for both quick appreciation as well as yield and safety compared to other alternative investments,” Palacios added.

The John Burns report further notes that investors have gravitated toward residential real estate as a hedge against inflation and in an effort to diversify their assets.

This trend may not be readily apparent to consumers or their agents. When someone loses a bidding war, after all, they may never find out exactly who won. But like rising material costs, it is happening in the background and having a big impact. And that impact is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.

“Housing investors are going wild, again,” the report ultimately concludes. “Limited new and resale housing supply, low mortgage rates, a global reach for yield, and what we’re calling the institutionalization of real estate investors are setting the stage for a home price boom that could stretch on for years, similar to the early 2000s.”

Full article on Inman


Is It a Good Time to Sell My House?

61310 Meeks Cutoff Road, Bend, OR 97702
Presented by Sandy and John Kohlmoos | Offered at $1,199,000 | MLS# 220112580

From Keeping Current Matters

Last year, many homeowners thought twice about selling their houses due to the onset of the health crisis. This year, however, homeowners are beginning to regain their confidence when it comes to selling safely. The latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae shows that 57% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.

Doug Duncan, Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explains:

“Overall, the index’s monthly increase was driven largely by a substantial jump in the share of consumers reporting that it’s a good time to sell a home, with many citing favorable mortgage rates, high home prices, and low housing inventory as their primary rationale.”

Normally, spring is the busiest season in the housing market – the time when many homeowners decide to list their houses. While this is obviously not a normal year since the pandemic is still very much upon us, experts are optimistic that consumer positivity around selling will lead to more homeowners making moves this year. Duncan continues to say:

“We will pay close attention to see if this newfound optimism develops into a trend.”

What does this mean if you’re thinking of selling your house?

The fact that there are so few houses available for sale today is one driver that’s encouraging consumers to think more positively about selling. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) states:

“Total housing inventory at the end of January amounted to 1.04 million units, down 1.9% from December and down 25.7% from one year ago (1.40 million).”

With so few homes available to buy, your house will be more likely to rise to the top of an eager purchaser’s wish list in this competitive market. Today’s high buyer activity is creating upward pressure on home prices and more multiple-offer scenarios. According to the Realtors Confidence Index Survey from NAR, the average home for sale is receiving 3.7 offers today, up from 2.3 offers just one year ago. This makes selling even more enticing.

In this kind of sellers’ market, you have a huge advantage in the process. And here’s another win – you can also use your equity toward a down payment on a new home when you move.

Wondering where you’ll go if you try to move while it’s so challenging to find a home to buy? Well, in many areas, there are more homes available at the higher end of the market, so finding a move-up home may be less of an issue if you’re ready to search for your dream home this spring.

Full article on Keeping Current Matters


New-Home Sales Jump 19% Annually

34155 NE Wilsonville Rd, Newberg, OR 97132
Presented by Jennifer Nash | Offered at $2,100,000 | MLS# 21492103

From Realtor Magazine

Sales of newly built, single-family homes in January moved 19% higher than a year ago, as home buyers sought more options under a lean number of existing homes for sale.

Newly built single-family home sales increased 4.3% last month over December 2020, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923,000, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday.

“Historically low mortgage rates and solid demand spurred an increase in new home sales in January,” says Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. “However, rising affordability issues are looming this year, particularly increasing building material costs, including lumber, which is adding $24,000 to the price of a typical newly built home. Builders also cite rising regulatory issues as a potential concern.”

As existing-home inventory remains at all-time lows, more buyers are considering new home construction, says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. “Though rising building and development costs, combined with recent increases in mortgage interest rates, threaten to exacerbate existing affordability conditions,” he says. “Builders are exercising discipline to ensure home prices do not outpace buyer budgets.”

Inventories of new homes also remain tight at just a four-month supply at the current sales pace. New-home inventories are 6.3% lower than January 2020.

The median sales price for a new home was $346,400 in January, up 5.3% from a year earlier.

New-home sales rose by the highest amounts in the Midwest last month, up 12.6% annually. New-home sales also posted a 6.8% increase in the West and a 3% increase in the South. The only region of the U.S. to post a decline in new home sales in January was the Northeast, where new home sales fell 13.9% annually.

Full article on Realtor Magazine


Single-family Housing Starts Reach Highest Level Since 2007

20377 S Shore Vista Dr, Oregon City, OR 97045
Presented by Brent Gunter | Offered at $3,195,000 | MLS# 20699003

From housingwire.com

According to reports from Census Bureau, single-family housing starts continued their seven-month climb in November, coming in to the highest level since 2007. Housing starts increased by 1.2% in November compared to October and increased by 12.8% year over year to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.58 million starts. Single-family housing starts rose 0.4% from October and 27.1% compared to last year.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, Joel Kan said that the report is consistent with other housing data showing that the housing market has substantially rebounded from Q2 of 2020. The demand for larger homes has strengthened because of the pandemic that led to more construction, home sales, and mortgage applications. He added that the permits for new single-family construction also rose to 2007 highs, potentially an indication that we might see the increase in homebuilding continue into early 2021.

Single-family authorizations in November were at a rate of 1.14 million, up 1.3% from the revised October rate of 1.12 million. Actual single-family housing completions dipped again in November, down 0.6% from October’s rate of 879,000 to 874,000.

First American’s Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi said that the rise in housing starts is a welcome sign of new single-family inventory to come and that 2021 may be the year of the homebuilder.

Zillow’s Economist Matthew Speakman said today’s numbers showcase the enduring strength of the housing and homebuilding markets and that builders are overcoming the constraints that have limited activity in the last few months.

The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index measuring builder confidence faltered a bit this month after three months of record highs, falling four points to 86. But it’s still the fourth month in survey history the score broke 80.

Full article on housingwire.com


July Pending Home Sales Jump Over 15% Annually, as Properties Go Under Contract in Record Time

29103 NE Lookout Rd Camas, WA 98607
Presented by Martiné Gibbons | Offered at $4,950,000 | MLS# 20190459

From cnbc.com

Homebuyers continue to show strong demand and prove that there isn’t a summer slowdown despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales, which measure signed contracts to purchase existing homes, increased 5.9% in July compared with June, and sales were 15.5% higher annually.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “Home sellers are seeing their homes go under contract in record time, with nine new contracts for every 10 new listings.”

Yun does not expect sales to drop or become slower this fall season. He anticipates existing-home sales to reach 5.8 million in the second half of this year. This would then bring the full-year total to 5.4 million, showing a 1.1% increase compared with 2019.

Based on NAR’s index, the housing market activities from pent-up demand is in good shape. Pending home sales in the Northeast rose 25.2% for the month and were up 20.6% from a year ago. In the Midwest, sales rose 3.3% monthly and 15.4% annually. Sales in the South increased by 0.9% for the month and were up 14.9% from July 2019. Sales in the West rose 6.8% monthly and 13.2% annually.

“Anecdotally, Realtors are telling me there is no shortage of clients or home seekers, but that scarce inventory remains a problem,” Yun said. “If 20% more homes were on the market, we would have 20% more sales, because demand is that high.”

July sales of newly built homes, which are also measured by signed contracts, surged dramatically, as buyers are now looking for new, high-tech, smart homes with floor plans designed for working and schooling at home. Builders are also benefiting from the severe shortage of existing homes for sale.

Full article cnbc.com


Existing-Home Sales Surge 24.7% as Prices Soar to Record

910 Northshore Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Presented by Matt Tercek | Offered at $4,595,000 | MLS# 20019782

From newsmax.com

U.S. home sales increased for the second straight month in July and home prices also hit a record as low-interest rates increased the demand for homes even if the coronavirus pandemic put millions of people out of work.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales rose by 24.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million units last month. Data for June was revised slightly to a 4.70 million-unit pace from the originally reported 4.72 million.

July’s rise was the second consecutive increase, followed soon after a monthly increase in June, and raised the sales pace above the 5.76 million pace in February before the pandemic caused a momentary drop in sales. July’s level was the highest since December 2006.

“The housing market is well past the recovery phase and is now booming with higher home sales compared to the pre-pandemic days,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021.”

Economists surveyed by Reuters had projected sales rising 14.7% to a rate of 5.38 million units in July.

Existing home sales, which make up about 85% of U.S. home sales, increased 8.7% on a year-on-year basis in July.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is at an average of 2.99%, hovering near levels last seen in the early 1970s, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Data earlier this week showed homebuilding surge by the most in nearly four years in July.

Housing has been a bright spot in the economy even as other sectors suffer amid widespread coronavirus infections that have slowed commerce and kept unemployment high. More than 28 million people were collecting jobless benefits at the end of July.

The pandemic steered the economy into recession in February, ending a record-long expansion that had brought U.S. unemployment to a 50-year low.

Home sales rose in all four regions in June.

There were 1.5 million previously owned homes on the market in July, down 21.1% from a year ago. The median existing house price increased 8.5% from a year ago to a record of $304,100 in July.

At July’s sales pace, it would take 3.1 months to exhaust the current inventory, down from 4.2 months a year ago. A six-to-seven-month supply is viewed as a healthy balance between supply and demand.

Full details on newsmax.com


Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty Tops Market Share in Cannon Beach

CANNON BEACH, OR. (August 13, 2020) — Two recent oceanfront sales in Cannon Beach increased Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty market share to 26%, ranking as top firm in Cannon Beach by sales volume from January through July.

Within the first month of joining the firm, broker Jenny Rapp brought the buyer for 158 N Larch Street, a captivating oceanfront home listed by real estate veteran Sally Conrad. The home sold for $2,195,000 on July 31st.

“I attended a special open house hosted by Sally Conrad. She made sure we met the builder who explained the unique aspects of the construction. Having this detailed knowledge of the home was key as I described it to a customer who walked into our Gearhart office.” Jenny Rapp explained. “Having the stories to share about the history of the home helped my client feel connected to the property right away.”

On June 30th, another oceanfront home listed by Sally Conrad, 288 W Gulcana Ave, sold for $1,895,000. Located on the north end of quiet Tolovana Park, this exceptional home has both ocean and mountain views.

Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty boasts dedicated divisions serving Farm, Ranch and Vineyard and new development properties. The firm continues its innovative approach and continues to build upon these statistics:

  • 350 brokers;
  • 15 offices serving The Pacific Northwest;
  • $1.7 billion sales volume in 2019 – a company record.
  • 2X amount of sales volume generated versus the nearest competitor in Central Oregon
  • 51% market share growth in Portland Metro in 2019 over 2018;

•     49 brokers increased their business by at least 50% in 2019.

The firm’s affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty offers a global referral network with over 23,000 sales associates in 1,000 offices, located in 70 countries. In 2019, $114B in sales was generated worldwide. The Sotheby’s International Realty network and effective advertising programs allow properties in Oregon and SW Washington to be thoughtfully marketed into key buyer feeder markets that include cities in California, Washington, and Arizona.


Contract Signings Make a ‘Remarkable’ Move

5203 54th Ct SE Salem, OR 97317
Presented by Hamid Karimi | Offered at $2,350,000 | MLS# 20682329

From Realtor Magazine

Pending home sales continued to increase rapidly for the second consecutive month in June despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of REALTORS®, an increase was seen in the month-over-month contract signings from each of the four major regions in the U.S. as home buyers rushed out to purchase homes across the country.

NAR’s index shows that contract signings increased by 6.3% compared to a year ago.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that the contract activity for home purchases is higher compared to a year ago is quite surprising and remarkable considering that we are all amid a global pandemic. Consumers are taking opportunities from the record-low mortgage rates resulting from the Federal Reserve’s maximum liquidity monetary policy.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index jumped 16.6% month over month in June to a reading of 116.1.

See snapshot of housing report below:

Yun also said that the strong bounce-back comes after a longer lockdown in the Northeast region. The South, on the other hand, has consistently outperformed the rest of the country. And these remarkable rebounds equate to exceedingly a higher buyer demand.

Upbeat Forecasts for 2020 and Beyond

Because of the recent turnaround in contract signings, NARs adjusted its overall housing forecast. For 2020, NAR is now projecting existing-home sales to decrease by only 3%, with sales increasing to 5.6 million by Q4. New-home sales are projected to increase by 3% this year.

Yun is auspicious that positive GDP growth of 4% in 2021 will drive, on both existing and new, higher home sales. He forecasts existing-home sales to increase by 7% in 2021 and new-home sales to increase by 16%.

Home prices are also projected to increase by 4% in 2020. Yun predicts prices will moderate in 2021 but still increase by 3% as more supply is expected to hit the market.

Low financing costs are expected to continue to attract home buyers. NAR predicts that mortgage rates will stay at or near 3% over the next 18 months.

Full details on Realtor Magazine


Is the Health Crisis Driving Buyers Out of Urban Areas?

18820 Green Bluff Drive Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Listed by Tony Polito and Jennifer Benelli | Offered at $1,395,000 | MLS# 20229842

From keepingcurrentmatters.com

Coronavirus made consumers reassess the factors that make up the “perfect home”. Locations and layouts of their existing homes were taken into consideration. The appeal of a more congested city life appears to be giving way to either suburban or less congested rural life. The interest with an open floor plan faded as people needed more privacy while working from home.

A recent report from news.com showed that buyers are now leaning heavily for more listings of suburban and rural properties.

Here are the year-over-year percentage increases in views per property type:

  • Urban – 7%
  • Suburban – 13%
  • Rural – 16%

Realtor.com’s Director of Economic Research said that the migration to the suburbs is not a new trend but it became more prominent. After several months of staying home, the urge to have more space, and the probability for more people to work from home are factors contributing to this.

Realtor Magazine also reported that the desire to move is strongest in our city markets.

The pandemic also altered how consumers think about floor plans that is

The pandemic also altered how consumers think about floor plans that is why builders are anticipating changes in how future homes will look like. Zillow explained in a recent press release that:

  • Builders believe as people spend more time at home during the pandemic, buyers are realizing which features of their homes are working and not working.
  • Homebuilders predict open-concept floor plans will be a thing of the past, as people now value more walls, doors, and overall privacy.
  • New construction, which offers the chance to personalize home features, saw its listing page views grow by 73% over last May.

The pandemic is impacting the luxury market too. Realtor.com’s Chief Economist previously reported that stay at home and social distancing orders made ‘extra space’ even more relevant. This leads high-end buyers to find a second home that is within driving distance from their primary residence.

It seems that a percentage of people are preparing to leave many American cities. These moves may be permanent, while others may be temporary. In either case, many consumers are on the move and Real Estate Professionals are always ready to help.

Full article on keepingcurrentmatters.com